Reading time: 7 minutes.
Are you wondering if it is possible for rottweilers to experience separation anxiety?
Rottweilers as a breed can be extremely prone to developing separation anxiety, which can make it very hard for them to be alone and separated from their owners. Due to this, these dogs require a great deal of attention and care to ensure they remain healthy and minimize any anxiety.
In this article, we look at why Rottweilers are prone to separation anxiety, some of the triggers of anxiety, and how it can be managed at home and with the help of the vet.
Do Rottweilers have separation anxiety?
As a breed, rottweilers can be very prone to developing separation anxiety. Typically a very loyal breed, separation can be extremely hard for a lot of rottweilers to cope with and can be made seen in destructive or aggressive behaviors.
As with any condition, not every rottweiler will develop separation anxiety. Some dogs may go their whole lives without experiencing anxiety, while others may struggle greatly with being separated. However, it is important to remember that the breed is prone to becoming very anxious if separated from their owners.
The stereotype of the rottweiler breed is a tough, aggressive dog, which goes against the image of a dog who becomes stressed at being separated from their owners. Despite the stereotype usually being untrue, people can still be surprised to hear that Rottweilers are prone to separation anxiety.
So, what is separation anxiety? It is a form of anxiety that is triggered by separation from owners. This can result in behaviors that may be unlike a dog’s regular behavior patterns, such as chewing and ruining objects. Some dogs are more prone to it due to their characteristics.
Why are Rottweilers prone to it?
It is not known why rottweilers are more likely than other breeds to develop separation anxiety, but it is likely to be triggered by an event early on in the dog’s life. The exact cause of separation anxiety in dogs is unknown, but there are also certain traits rottweilers have that may make them more susceptible to developing anxiety.
As a breed, Rottweilers tend to be very loyal, which can lead to them being very clingy with their owners. They will usually develop strong attachments, and sometimes find just one person to cling to. This can make separation very difficult for them and cause them to panic when left alone.
They can also be very protective of their humans and can find it quite stressful to be separated from them for this reason. Rottweilers prefer to have their humans in sight, where they can be sure they are safe and can protect them if needed. This can heighten their anxiety when their owners leave the house.
What causes separation anxiety in Rottweilers?
Anxiety in dogs can be caused by a number of things, however, it is usually related in some way to change. Most dogs have a hard time adapting to new things, but rottweilers can be especially prone to struggling with this. As we have seen, the exact cause is unknown, but there are some things that can trigger anxiety responses in rottweilers.
A time of great anxiety and stress for any dog is when becomes part of a new family, particularly if they are adopted from a different family. Not only are they now around people they have never met before, but they are also likely somewhere completely new. This can be a big trigger for rottweilers, who may be more prone to anxiety and panic.
Changes to the people a rottweiler is surrounded by are a big trigger for anxiety. As we have seen, rottweilers can develop special relationships with their owners. This can make it very difficult for them if someone in the family dies or leaves, which can cause them to act differently. Similarly, an addition to the family can also be hard to deal with.
Many dogs also struggle with anxiety when their environment changes, including rottweilers. A new environment, be it the home of a new family or a different house, can cause rottweilers to panic, especially when the time comes for them to be left alone in the new place.
How to spot signs of anxiety
According to the ASPCA, there are some signs you can look for to tell if your rottweiler is experiencing separation anxiety. These signs are likely to happen only if the dog is alone and will stop when the owner is present or returns home. Some things you can look for include:
- Barking or howling when they are left by themselves. This is likely to be to excess and may be out of character for the dog.
- Destructive behaviors in the home. This might include chewing, digging, or ruining objects that are left around the house. Again, this is likely to be unusual behavior for the dog.
- Soiling around the house. Urinating or defecating outside of the usual parameters, including inside the home, is a sign of distress and anxiety that should be taken seriously.
- Pacing around the room or house. This is likely to be a very specific route, usually back and forth or in a circle, and will probably be very repetitive.
Can Rottweilers grow out of it?
It is typically very hard for any dog to grow out of separation anxiety, and this includes rottweilers. If a dog has mild anxiety, symptoms may improve over time as the dog learns to be alone and accepts that owners will always return. In this case, anxiety might improve in a few months.
More severe separation anxiety is extremely difficult to grow out of without any outside support. Overcoming anxiety requires learning new behaviors and developing a new mindset which dogs are unlikely to achieve alone. For breeds like rottweilers who are prone to anxiety, it can be even more difficult and intervention is likely to be needed.
Can you train your Rottweiler not to be anxious?
It is important to remember that Rottweilers are prone to anxiety and it can be very difficult for this behavior to be broken. However, there are some ways you can help to manage the situation at home to help alleviate your dog’s worries. These methods of anxiety management are likely to be most effective with mild separation anxiety.
The Human Society recommends using a specific word or action to signify that you are leaving. If you can get your dog used to that word and use it only when you are going out, your dog may begin to associate the word with your return, which should help to lessen their anxiety.
Can vets help?
A visit to the veterinarian can help to manage anxiety in dogs, including rottweilers. As a breed prone to experiencing separation anxiety, rottweilers may be helped with the use of medication. Some anxiety medication is suitable for dogs and can help to alleviate symptoms of separation anxiety.
Another method of anxiety management your vet may be able to suggest is an appointment with an animal behaviorist. They may be able to get to the root of the problem and recommend an action plan to help manage the symptoms of anxiety and attempt to treat the root cause.
The most important thing is that you do not ignore the signs and symptoms of separation anxiety and make sure you get your rottweiler the help it needs. A visit to the vet might be just what you need to help manage your dog’s symptoms and make your life easier. Most vets will be able to offer some form of treatment for anxiety.
What should you avoid doing at home?
Some anxiety management strategies can actually make the problem worse and cause your dog unnecessary stress and worry. As well as recommending ways you can help your dog, The Humane Society also suggests some things you should avoid doing:
- Crating. It may seem helpful in reducing the number of destruction dogs can engage in. However, dogs still get anxious when crated and the confined space can lead to dogs hurting themselves or being left in unsanitary conditions, especially for large dogs like rottweilers.
- Avoid using punishment to deal with separation anxiety. Anxiety is not something dogs can control or are doing on purpose, so punishment is unfair and unnecessary. Instead of helping the anxiety, punishing your dog is only likely to make it worse.
- Obedience training. For similar reasons, you should avoid obedience training. The dog is not engaging in these behaviors on purpose or for any reason to do with disobedience. Training is likely to be a waste of time and money.
In this article, we have looked at the question ‘do rottweilers have separation anxiety?’. We have looked at some of the signs of separation anxiety, which included chewing and soiling, and what might trigger this kind of behavior. We have also looked at some of the things you can do to help your dog and alleviate the anxiety they are experiencing.